Puppy Mills and the Inadequacy of the Animal Welfare Act

Here’s one thing that each one of us can agree on: No one ought to ever purchase a pet from a pet mill. Puppy mills are horrific and ought to be put out of enterprise. 

An estimated 2 million puppies are “produced” yearly in pet mills within the U.S. Since the variety of canine who’re euthanized by shelters on this nation yearly is estimated to be 1.2 million, you’ll be able to see why merely shutting down pet mills is such an alluring concept to these of us who’ve labored in shelters. But it’s troublesome to place an finish to any apply that some folks revenue from, irrespective of how merciless it’s.

That’s why we attempt to educate folks – to verify they perceive, to begin with, that any “purebred” or “designer-mix” pet that’s on the market in a pet store has been produced by a pet mill, it doesn’t matter what the shop staff have been informed to say. 

We additionally attempt to make would-be consumers perceive that once they pay for a pet from a pet retailer, they’re instantly supporting canine struggling by the hands of all of the shady breeders, brokers, and scammers that offer pet shops. 

Most of us have seen images and movies taken by animal safety teams following a raid on the worst sort of pet mill, the place the residing situations of the canine are unspeakably horrendous, with cages filled with sore-covered canine stacked on prime of extra cages, and all of them stuffed with filth. No one would argue for ”companies” like this to be allowed to proceed operation.

It’s far more troublesome to acknowledge the cruelty of pet mills that publicize what number of veterinarians they’ve on workers, focus on their healthcare and socialization packages, and show photos of shiny-clean amenities alongside their United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) licenses. The situations look higher – however their breeder canine are nonetheless puppy-producing machines who haven’t any semblance of high quality of life. And the puppies can be offered to anybody prepared to pay for them and shipped anyplace within the nation at too-early ages. 

The backside line for mills is that puppies are merely “products” – and the pet miller’s backside line will at all times be extra vital than the welfare of the canine.

The USDA’s Animal Welfare Act (AWA) establishes authorized necessities for the care, dealing with, housing, transportation, and sale of animals at licensed breeding amenities. Puppy-millers and their downstream co-conspirators like to assert that their USDA licenses and unannounced AWA compliance inspections maintain the trade sincere. But the truth is, these legal guidelines are woefully insufficient. For instance, underneath the AWA: 

• There isn’t any restrict to the variety of canine on the premises. A pet mill may have tons of and even 1000’s of canine.

• There isn’t any minimal requirement for the variety of workers that should be obtainable to take care of the canine.

• Dogs could also be stored in stacked cages.

• Mesh or wire flooring is allowed.

• Dogs could also be pressured to alleviate themselves of their cages.

• Dogs could also be confined in areas solely six inches longer than their our bodies, not together with the tail.

• A canine could also be caged 24 hours a day for his or her total life, solely faraway from the cage to be bred.

• There isn’t any train requirement if canine are housed with different canine and minimal dimension necessities are met for the canine’s enclosure.

• Dogs will be housed indoors or out with minimal temperature regulation.

• Human interplay is just not required.

• Breeding females on the first warmth cycle and each warmth cycle thereafter is permissible.

• Unwanted animals could auctioned off or killed in quite a lot of methods.

• There isn’t any transparency to customers or the general public in regards to the outcomes of USDA inspections.

And lastly, it ought to be apparent that the USDA can’t adequately examine the complete pet mill trade; at present there are solely an estimated 110 inspectors on workers to examine all the animal amenities underneath its supervision, together with zoos and analysis labs, along with business canine breeders and brokers. 

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